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New playground to satisfy children of all abilities

Jun 05, 2017 11:36AM ● Published by Tori LaRue

A rendering of the new all-abilities playground that will be installed in South Jordan’s East Riverfront Park. These plans are subject to change. (South Jordan City)

Gallery: New playground to satisfy children of all abilities [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com
 
In the fall, South Jordan’s East Riverfront Park will be revitalized with a $400,000 playground for children of all ability and age levels.
 
“It’s the kind of park where a 2-year-old will be able to play on it with his 5-, 6- or 7-year old sibling,” Don Tingey, South Jordan’s Strategic Services director, said. “Children with disabilities will be able to play on it with their friends who might not have disabilities. It’s a park for everyone.”
 
The playground meets or exceeds all qualifications to be considered an “inclusive” design. There are multiple difficulty levels for each activity, cooperative play spaces and wide enough travel routes for wheelchairs, among other elements. Intended for children ages 2 to 12, the new playground will replace the current one found at 10991 South and Riverfront Parkway.
 
“While you might say the old playground looks better than the one in your backyard, it’s getting too old for us here at the city,” Tingey said. “It’s reached its life cycle point where they’ve started discontinuing parts that we need to replace on it. And as it continues to get older, that problem would only increase.”
 
The journey to getting a new playground has taken three years and several large donations. South Jordan City fronted $80,000 for the project. The city also collected $275,000 through Salt Lake County’s Zoo Arts and Parks funding, $20,000 from the South Jordan Rotary Club, $15,000 from the Eccles Foundation, $5,000 from the Michel Foundation and $5,000 from Rocky Mountain Power.
 
Shaun Michel, Rotary District governor, gave a few brief remarks at the May 2 city council meeting and presented a giant check from the South Jordan Rotary Club to the city council members. Michel said he felt so strongly about the project that he and his brother donated another $5,000 through their foundation, the Michel Foundation.
 
“We are grateful for this opportunity to serve our own community,” he said. “Our rotary club is pleased to give up $20,000 that we have raised forever and ever and ever.”
 
Rotary folks contributed funds to Salt Lake County’s Field of Dreams located at the Gene Fullmer Recreation Center around 2009. The field is accessible to children of all mental and physical capabilities. When presented with another opportunity to serve children in a similar capacity, Michel said they were thrilled.
 
The playground design facilitates a variety of movements—spinning, sliding, rocking, swinging and climbing. These each may stimulate different parts of the brain, muscles and sensory systems to help children grow and develop—no matter what age they are or abilities they have.
 
While the playground design is subject to change based on the enhanced landscape plan that has not yet been finalized, several unique activities are included in the playground renderings.
 
The “Cozy Cocoon” component at the park was designed as a space for autistic children or others who need a spot to self-regulate after an overload of sensory input. The pod is big enough for a child to sit in it and contains an opening on one side with windows on the right and left sides and on the back.
 
The “Triumph Climber” component contains three steel climbing designs that get progressively harder. The first works much like a set of stairs, the seconds looks like a ladder with evenly spaced rungs and the third contains irregular spaces for climbing. Ramps, slides and swings are also found throughout the design.

Although exact dates are still unknown, city staff members said the playground installation should be completed by this fall. 
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